Sunday, May 07, 2006

MLS's retarded record keeping, version 2006

You might remember last year all the fuss about how Real Salt Lake had the alltime longest scoreless streak in MLS history. Except, it wasn't true. As I figured out here, there were actually two longer streaks, one by the Rapids and the longest by the Wizards. Of course, MLS didn't mention them because they were over two seasons. At least that was the reason given. Possibly, they didn't realize it because on the MLSnet stats page for each season, it lists only scoreless streaks for that season. So they probably did a quick check, and didn't take that into account.

Let's move on to 2006. Real Salt Lake has now gone 18 games without a win. Now, MLS seems to have no problem counting something over two seasons. Just look at this weekend's RSL-Columbus match report:

"But Columbus survived the man-down situation to claim their second win of the year, and run Real's MLS-record winless streak to 18 games, dating back to last August."

The problem now is that they continue to count games decided by shootouts (from 1996-99) as wins or losses, when everyone knows that they should be considered draws. When you go to a penalty shootout at the World Cup, it's at the end of a drawn game. You cannot win or lose the game, you can only win or lose the shootout.

This is an issue because RSL does not have the longest winless streak in MLS history, the 1999 Metrostars do. They went 19 games in a row without winning, from 5/22 through 9/5, which happened to include 4 shootouts (1 win). See here for more.

I know that the match report says that "This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs," but it says that on half the stories on the site. And by posting it, that's pretty much giving it their approval.

All I am asking for is that when looking at the historical records of teams, MLS should consider shootouts as draws, like I do in my lineup database. It's the only fair thing to do. Without doing that, you make it impossible to compare the first four years of the league to anything after that, and it makes for ridiculous stories about win/loss streaks that include/exclude shootouts. Please, Don Garber. It's not a pressing issue, but it's the right thing to do, and it needs to be done eventually. Let's do it now, while the league is still young, so we don't have to endure more wrong stories like the "RSL record winless streak."

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